Andrew Hill – A Beautiful Day
(Palmetto – 2002)
by Ricky Miller
Sixty two year old pianist Andrew Hill hadn’t recorded for almost a decade prior to releasing Dusk in 2000, which went on to be Down Beat’s “Jazz Album of the Year”. Since then Hill has written over 40 more original works, eight of which are featured here. The hugely successful musical journey Hill began with Dusk continues, enhanced by the addition of 11 new players. The big surprise is that A Beautiful Day is a live recording! Including members of Dusk’s Point of Departure Sextet the music was recorded live during a three-night stand at New York’s famed Birdland in January 2002. The CD is very improvisational, the themes ranging from the disjointed cacaphony on the wonderful Faded Beauty to the almost choral sections of 5 Mo.
Andrew Hill’s style of music is unstructured and free, retaining some elements of traditional jazz while often flitting loose of those bonds and crossing boundaries, only to return later (or not, sometime). The music here is imaginative and sweeping, filled with nuances of tonality and texture. Wonderful and wonderous this is mind expanding fare, definitely not for the faint of heart or the smooth jazz addicts out there.